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FIFA U-17 World Cup: Paraguay look to shine on fourth attempt

Paraguay made it to the FIFA U-17 World Cup for two successive editions --1999 and 2001 --- following which there was a 14-year wait before returning to the competition in Chile.

fifa u17 world cup 2017 Updated: Sep 30, 2017 15:29 IST
Sarthak Bal
Sarthak Bal
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
FIFA U-17 World Cup,FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017,Paraguay Football Team
The Paraguay U-17 football team will take part in the FIFA U-17 World Cup for the fourth time.(CONMEBOL)

Paraguay have made three appearances in the Fifa U-17 World Cup finals before India 2017. The Paraguayans made it to the tournament for two successive editions --1999 and 2001 --- following which there was a 14-year wait before returning to the competition in Chile. Their best result in came in their debut year in New Zealand (1999) where they finished fifth before being knocked out by eventual champions Brazil. The South American nation has never won a continental under-17 championship but finished second in 1999, losing, again, to Brazil in the final.

KNOW THE COACH

Gustavo Morinigo played in the 2002 men’s World Cup for Paraguay. He took over the reins of the U-17 side in 2016, prior to which he coached the Paraguay U-20 team between a three-year spell at Nacional and a one-year stint at Cerro Porteno. Morinigo also represented Paraguay in U-20 World Cup.

PAST PERFORMANCE

Fifth place: 1999. Group stage: 2001, 2015. Did not qualify: 1987-97, 2003-13. Did not enter: 1985.

PASSAGE TO INDIA: Paraguay made it to the global event for the fourth time on back of a third placed finish at the 2017 South American U-17 Championship.

Results in South American U-17 Championship: Beat Argentina 1-0, drew against Venezuela 2-2, drew against Brazil 1-1, beat Peru 2-0, drew against Brazil 2-2, drew against Ecuador 2-2, beat Chile 2-0, beat Venezuela 3-1.

POSSIBLE GAME-CHANGERS

Name: Leonardo Martin Sanchez

Age: 17

Club: Olimpia Asuncion U20 (PAR)

Position: Forward

Why he is special: Sanchez ended the U-17 South American Championship as Paraguay’s top-scorer, netting four times. He scored against heavyweights Brazil and host Chile.

Name: Roberto Fernandez

Age: 17

Club: Guarani U20

Position: Defender

Why he is special: The centre-back’s three-goal haul in the South American championship highlights his abilities to score goals as well.

Name: Fernando Romero

Age: 17

Club: Club Nacional Asuncion U20

Position: Forward

Why he is special: Romero complemented Sanchez’s performance in front of goal with three goals, thus forming a formidable strike partnership.

First Published: Sep 20, 2017 15:17 IST